Louisiana's first female sculptor Angela Gregory's journey to her dream is showcased by award-winning writer Nancy Penrose in "A Dream and a Chisel: Louisiana Sculptor Angela Gregory in Paris, 1925–1928 (Women's Diaries and Letters of the South)" earlier this month. The memoir shows Gregory's journey to defeat the odds to chisel stone in a field dominated by men "with hard work, grace, charm and a sense of humor," Penrose said.
Gregory, a New Orleans native, was a sculptor and professor of art. Gregory has been called the "doyenne of Louisiana sculpture," after having a successful six-decade-long career and whose sculptures, collections and art are displayed across the greater Baton Rouge area.
Gregory began her career in the late twentieth century and would become one of the few women sculptors recognized nationally and internationally. After studying for two years in Paris with the well-recognized French sculptor, Antoine Bourdelle, she was able to learn and perfect her craft.
She would write down everything she learned with Bourdelle. This "artistic Bible" helped guide her career, Penrose said.
Some of her notable works to the state's culture include the eight of the 22 profiles on the State Capitol, the Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville monument in New Orleans and the Gov. Henry Watkins Allen monument in Port Allen, to name a few.
A new and permanent installation of maquette or scale model pieces Gregory created for the Louisiana State Capitol profiles are now located at the West Baton Rouge Museum.
Gregory’s work has been exhibited at the Salon des Tuileries in France, the National Gallery in Washington and in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. She is also represented in private collections and several museums, such as in the LSU Museum of Art, Louisiana Arts and Science center and the West Baton Rouge Museum.
Not only was she one of the few women of the National Sculpture Society, but she was named Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French minister of culture. Tulane University and Newcomb College named her as an outstanding alumna.